by Gaetan Lee
There is so much happening in the world, so many things and people who are awesome, terrifying, brilliant, and perplexing. Let me give you some examples.
Portugal decriminalized drug use five years ago, and according to this article, the decision actually helped lower drug related deaths and HIV infections. So, should America follow suit? I don’t know. I definitely think a person who smokes pot is less of a threat to society than, say, a mugger, rapist, murderer or other malicious person. What if we could reroute our resources from prosecuting drug users to preventing drug abuse? I suspect that a lot of our problems with drugs start with kids who have no direction, no support at home, no education, and no sense of opportunity. I don’t know how it could be done, exactly, but I do wonder…
Inga Muscio is one of my favorite feminist authors, and today Gala Darling linked to her essay, “Why I Love America.” I first read Muscio’s book Cunt back in high school, and I think it’s safe to say it changed my life. It definitely adjusted my attitude toward my own body, and it was one of those books that stuck with me so that even though I was young and on the road toward making some bad decisions, the message of that book would stick in the back of my mind. I feel like there should be a psychological term for the denial or loss of one’s personality that happens when you’re stuck on pleasing other people. I don’t know a word for it, but when I was in the depth of that condition, which I really do think is a disorder of some kind, Muscio’s message about loving your body and loving yourself as a woman stuck with me, and I think that message is part of what eventually brought me out of my stupor. I have a lot of gratitude for authors like Muscio.
Spike TV is apparently going to start a new reality TV show about the Navy fighting pirates in the Gulf of Aden. Obviously, Spike is capitalizing on dramatic current events that really would make the perfect reality show. Apparently, the Navy agreed to the deal in hopes of recruiting new members. While I typically don’t like “reality” shows, since they’re not based on the same reality in which most actual human beings live, this one sounds good if only because it’s taking a legitimate, real event (as in, it existed before they decided to make a TV show about it), and share it with the world. I’d view this more like a real time documentary than a reality show. I’m very curious to see how it’ll turn out and what the dynamic will be between the crew and the military personnel.
And speaking of reality shows, Rod Blagojevich is hoping to land a spot on some kind of celebrity survival show. Tacky as the whole thing is, I’m glad someone seems to have figured out exactly where Mr. Blagojevich belongs. After all, he’s got the smugness, the bad hair and the shady ethics required to rise through the ranks of vote-offs and whatnot despite being the most despicable character on the show. He would definitely bring the drama if it does get on the show. Would I watch it? Oh, hell no. Well, maybe just one episode.
Rebecca Traister of Salon.com has finally put her finger on what is so obnoxious about the term cougar. The photo illustration at the top of the story is just hysterical, especially after you’ve read the piece. I appreciate how she treats the subject with intelligent humor. She makes a strong point but keeps the tone distinctly readable. This is something I’ve struggled with when reading feminist writers: It’s not that the author is a bad person or that her point is invalid — far from it — but some of the arguments feminism has to make are difficult to read just by their nature. Conflict and confrontation are hard to stomach for a lot of people, and when you can make an argument (any argument) palatable to your reader, you’re much more likely to get your message across. Traister does a great job of that.
Everyone’s talking about Grey Gardens suddenly, and I really want to see it, despite never having heard of the Beale ladies before this week. The title of this review on CBC News is kindof lame, but the review is good. (Can you tell I obsess a bit about titles? Is that a problem?) There’s just something fantastic about these ladies as characters. I think that’s something I want to explore more with my writing — picking out great characters when you meet them, observing them, writing well about people. That said, I’m going to watch the documentary as well as the new movie, probably with a bottle of red wine on hand, and call it research. Care to join me?
by Hamed Saber
Finally, on a more personal note, life is amazing, y’all. Be grateful. Keep your eyes open. Love. Be honest. Be open. Be real. Love yourself. Learn everything. Sometimes, people will exit your life unceremoniously and without warning. Be good to them while you can. No one knows what happens after you die, so don’t wait for the grave to find out. Live now.
R.I.P. Matt Webb. In my memory, you are always smiling.